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Host a home wine tasting

There are many things to consider when hosting a wine tasting party with your friends. One of the most crucial things to consider, which is almost always overlooked, is the theme. I recall waiting on a gentleman when I worked in retail that was looking for a 'Spanish chardonnay.' He explained that he was having about twenty friends over that evening to do a wine tasting and he instructed everyone to bring a Spanish chardonnay.
      Much to his chagrin, I had to inform him very few chardonnays were produced in Spain. Spain is mostly known for its red wine. I then told him Spain does produce a considerable amount of white wine, but generally they vinify varieties that are indigenous to Spain, or varieties that have been there for hundreds of years.
      This did not sit well with him, since he had sent dozen or so people out on a wild goose chase, looking for the illusive Spanish chardonnay. He left the large liquor store, swearing I didn't know what I was talking about. His final comment was he would drive down the street to the other cavernous liquor store and they would surely have a large selection of Spanish chardonnay. Little did he know, I had tasted the major Spanish portfolios available in Colorado and knew his search was in vain.
      He could have avoided this pitfall by doing just a little bit of research. The Internet is crammed full of information about wine and with just a little bit of effort, wine tasting themes are everywhere.
      The first thing I always recommend to folks planning a tasting party is to choose a region, rather than a grape. Most regions produce red, white, rose, sparkling, and dessert wines. This allows your guests to have a wide variety of wines to choose from. Of course we have to consider most people like red wine. However, I cannot tell you how many times I have brought sparkling wine to one of my many wine tasting parties and could have poured two or three more.
      I recall a Bordeaux tasting (not organized by myself) that had 75 bottles of red and not a single white, rose, or Sauternes. While hanging out in the kitchen one chilled bottle of Bordeaux Blanc arrived and it was instantly vaporized. Not a drop left after two minutes of the bottle being in the house. It was a warm summer night and even though most folks like red, that chilled, refreshing, crisp white wine disappeared in a matter of minutes into the glasses of the thirst partiers.
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